Smart building solutions powered by IoT, ML, cloud computing
Tech startup 75F’s smart building solutions use the power of IoT, ML and cloud computing to analyse real-time data from various sensors and devices installed in buildings, to improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency
75F was created to find a solution to an age-old problem. When 75F’s CEO & Co-Founder, Deepinder Singh’s one-year-old daughter would often wake up crying in the middle of the night. He soon discovered this was because her room temperature was more than 8-10 degrees cooler than the other rooms – a significant difference in Minnesota, where the outside temperature could fall to -30 degrees Celsius. This was because the thermostat in the master bedroom did not take temperature variances into account. To fix this problem, Deepinder developed algorithms that incorporated temperature variances and thermal loads in different parts of buildings, and this was the beginning of 75F in 2012.
“75F originally worked as a residential solution but we have focused only on commercial market sales since 2014, the year we won the Minnesota Cup and the top spot in the national category for energy efficiency in the Midwest Cleantech Open that’s when its visibility and client base really started to grow. After establishing a strong base of happy customers in the US, we expanded our operations to India in 2016 and has been growing steadily ever since,” says Gaurav Burman, VP & APAC President, 75F. Its Indian clientele includes Firstsource Solutions, Flipkart, WeWork, Shell, Mercedes-Benz and many more.
Towards the end of 2019, 75F completed an $18M Series A round of funding co-led by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Climate Initiative with participation from Building Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and Clean Energy Trust, making it the largest investment to date in the energy-efficiency technology category in the Asia Pacific region.
Focus on innovation
75F’s smart building solution uses the power of IoT, ML and cloud computing to analyse real-time data from various sensors and devices installed at the building. This creates a vast network of devices that can glean a lot of insights that help building owners and facility managers make more educated decisions about occupant comfort and energy efficiency.
Ensuring that this data is being acted upon in real-time is critical to enhancing comfort and energy efficiency in the buildings. But it also translates to millions of data points per day, which is a lot of data to process and analyse. Therefore, 75F solutions combine the data-gathering potential of Edge Computing and the storage and processing power of cloud computing to ensure that our IoT devices respond fast and are efficient while driving innovation with big data analytics.
Burman states, “At 75F, we believe that innovation is what sets us apart. The team comes from a diverse background, with one common thread: forward-thinking. 75F is one of the only brands today, that can effectively address the energy, air quality and comfort issues of more 99,000 commercial buildings in India and 15,000,000 worldwide.”
There are three aspects of the indoor environment that truly impact an employee’s ability to perform: thermal comfort, indoor air quality and lighting. Harnessing the power of IOT and cloud computing, 75F is uniquely able to control and optimally adjust each of these three aspects ensuring maximum occupant experience always, while saving up to 50 per cent on energy.
Broadly, the innovative solution provides commercial building owners with improved energy efficiency, occupant comfort and productivity, indoor air quality management, controls automation, extended equipment lifecycles, and remote management capabilities. Additionally, the predictive solution is equipped with IoT, Machine Learning and cloud-computing data storage and processing power, which is more efficient than standard building controls systems, and doesn’t require the CapEx investment for IT infrastructure of data centre equipment, nor the corresponding ongoing OpEx maintenance.
While there are many players in the Building Controls sector, there really are none that provide the entire stack – from the hardware, to the software to the building intelligence systems, to the data analytics to the user interface. Traditional building control systems are reactive, responding to errors after they occur and making frantic attempts to correct temperatures and lux levels to the desired levels. The 75F System is predictive. Smart algorithms model the thermal envelope of the building and predict heat loads based on the weather, angle of the sun, occupant preferences, etc. With over 1.6 million lines of code, 75F’s model can send precise instructions to the system to proactively rebalance airflow and keep ahead of temperature drifts.
The portfolio also includes innovative solutions such as the recently developed Epidemic Mode Solution, Advanced Lighting Control and Automation, Outdoor Air Optimisation, Indoor Air Quality Management and Facilisight, amongst others. Facilisight is a futuristic energy management tool with a dynamic UI with its suite of web and mobile apps, allowing customers to manage temperature and lighting in their buildings remotely and round the clock from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Initially 75F’s go-to-market was direct to customer i.e. Facility Managers and Facility Heads of commercial buildings. Over time, it redefined its go-to-market strategy to approach the customers through their ESCo (Energy Service Companies) Partners or through other channel partners such as FM Companies, Property developers, Building Automation SI’s, etc.
When 75F launched its operations in India the company started by focusing on a few key verticals including IT/ITeS, Co-working Offices and Retail in the four major metros. Today, they also see traction in many other business verticals such as SMEs, BFSI, co-working spaces and retail.
When it comes to core technology, 75F’s ability to adapt in a rapidly changing IoT landscape has allowed the company to be more prepared to the changing needs of customers and end users. “Beyond HVAC, where we have ushered in a fundamental paradigm shift by introducing self-learning optimal control systems that are proactive instead of reactive, we have expanded their focus to advanced lighting solutions and energy management solutions. Over the past one year, we have continued to grow our portfolio, enter new markets and have started serving new verticals such as hospitality and retail sectors,” mentions Burman.
The startup is expanding its offering across numerous vectors and in multiple ways that include adding to the capabilities of their solutions, expanding their services suite and deploying additional go-to-market channels to name a few. Newer technologies such as 75F, lead to much higher levels of deployment in retrofits or brownfield projects. This is in addition to new building deployments which presents an enormous opportunity with the Indian economy looking robust for the medium-term growth.
“We want to empower people to work better and fulfil their desire for comfort. 75F’s solution can also contribute up to 38 LEEDv4 credits, which is helping to construct a more sustainable world. Globally, buildings are responsible for up to 30 per cent of all energy related greenhouse gas emissions. We believe in the promise of Internet of Things to improve building occupant lives and deliver energy savings without sacrificing comfort. 75F’s strive to provide smart systems that are both easy to deploy and easy to use, thus giving building owners and facility managers insights into how their buildings are performing in real-time while giving them the power to manage and optimise their building resources remotely from anywhere in the world,” explains Burman.
75F has been continuously expanding and has offices in Singapore, Chennai and recently opened a new office in Delhi as well.
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